On the Sillyside of the Street

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Beary on the Common

There’s been a lot of justifiable seriousness to women’s conversations lately, aka the entire year, aka a lifetime. The relentless triggering of past trauma is a drain on our energies and real block to forward momentum in our lives. Sometimes no amount of mindful techniques, nature walks or power boot camp gym time will work for very long. If you can’t sit still for spa-like self care, what’s the alternative?

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Lizzie and Me

That’s when it’s time for a walk on the sillyside. This is a free practice- it needs no alcohol, chocolate, expensive clothes or elaborate props. Sustained laughter with a willing companion who can see the humor in the ordinary is the most valuable commodity. Being able to have a whimsical or offbeat take on the travails of daily life is a skill vastly underrated in the competitive world adults must dwell in.

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Pottery Magic

Women today are very careful to project the professionalism that creates the proper boundary in a world too eager to capitalize on weakness, shortcomings and embarrassing moments for personal gain. When can we relax when social occasions can turn into one up-womanship with questions about how many children, work responsibilities, hours on the job, number of high profile clients, etc.

Please, must we go there?

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King Arthur Flour on the Road — biggest spatula?

A trusted friend who knows how to laugh with you rather than at you is the most precious commodity today. I have a dear friend who always greets my phone call with smile in her voice. The occasional costume opportunity or themed party food are embraced with exuberance. We feel safe dropping our guard and quickly our conversation becomes high volume, punctuated with hearty laughs. When we get into the car for a road trip oftentimes we are laughing so much we miss our exit and have to double back or take elaborate detours. Turning our latest family concerns or work frustrations into humorous anecdotes allows us to gain perspective and move into a more joyful frame of mind.

A quirky sense of gentle fun is often stock-in-trade in the children’s book world. Childhood favorites have the advantage of being familiar and yielding fresh insights. Ann Hood illustrates this well in her memoir, Morningstar. Treasured books from young childhood have a special pleasure. When we long for a kinder, simpler world we can find it again in the wonder of experiencing the world with new eyes. Very often it’s stories about animals embodying human traits that give a child permission to be true to themselves. One favorite such book is The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. Sometimes it’s about reaching for the future, as in Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls. By connecting to the values we teach children we can restore our sense of hope for the future of the adult world to come.

Joyfully,

Claire

P.S. When December arrives I’ll be in line to see the animated version of Leaf’s tale, Ferdinand. How will it compare to the 1938 Disney classic, Ferdinand the Bull?

What’s your favorite sillyside practice??

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Book covers from publishers. Photos by Claire Mauro

 

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Easing Into A New Year

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What a counter-intuitive start to Winter here in the northeast! The temperature and weather have been at odds with the available daylight. While we feel like we can go, go, go, the low levels and shorter duration of light are inviting us to slow down. All the energy expended during the holidays, followed by a more inward time, is part of an ancient cycle that we recognize at a deep level of our being. In today’s world it’s masked by the constant availability of man-made light in all its multimedia modes. We can take maximum benefit from the Winter season with some quiet moments of contemplation before going full bore into the new year. Continue reading

Color Your World

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Wherever you’ve been sitting under an umbrella, it’s hot, hot, hot and the activities are non-stop. That’s summer at its best. When hot days are punctuated by some cooler nights we recover to take up the race again. Want to slow it down before the season ends? Savor those lazy days of endless sunshine with a coloring book! Continue reading

Get Cozy with Color and Texture

Morning Rainbow, Saugerties, Ulster County, NY
Morning Rainbow, Saugerties, Ulster County, NY
The russet leaves on my backyard maple are turning to fire, nights are more often cold and the pot on the stove holds heartier fare. It’s time for different tactile sensations and infusions of color along with the associated scents and flavors contributing to our life’s rhythm. Continue reading